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More than 380,000 children out of school in northern Mali, three months into school year

New UNICEF initiative helps children resume their learning

© UNICEF/UNI203045/Dicko
A student at her school in Mali which is supported by UNICEF’s “Every Child Counts” campaign that gives boy and girls in conflict-affected regions learning opportunities.

BAMAKO, Mali/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 18 December 2015 – More than 380,000 children aged 7 to 15 remain out of school in insecure regions in northern Mali, three months into the new school year and almost four years since the security situation worsened in that part of the country, UNICEF said today.

“Children in northern Mali know too well the impact of conflict, poverty and deprivation,” said Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Mali. “Education is their best hope for the future.”

Over 280 schools, or 1 in 6, in the conflict-affected areas in northern Mali are closed, many of them for the third year in a row, after they were damaged, destroyed, looted or occupied by the warring parties. In Kidal, one of the worst hit areas, 79 per cent of schools remain closed. The journey to and from school remains unsafe, and fear of unexploded mines and other remnants of war have forced parents to keep their children away from the classrooms.

Violence has also led to a shortage of teachers. Nearly 600 teachers have fled the conflict areas or are no longer reporting to work because of insecurity.

UNICEF is helping to give children back their right to education, through a two-year campaign focusing on the areas of Gao, Kidal, Mopti, Segou and Timbuktu. The campaign, ‘Every Child Counts’, provides:

  • Training opportunities and learning materials for 2,000 teachers;
  • Individual kits for students and school kits to reach 100,000 children;
  • Peacebuilding activities for 100,000 children and 10,000 booklets promoting peace and non-discrimination for students and their communities.

The campaign will also provide alternative and accelerated learning programmes, including via radio lessons, for out-of-school children. Schools will be rehabilitated and children will be educated about the danger of unexploded ordnance.

Up to 1.4 million children – or more than 1 in 6 – are affected by the crisis in Mali. Nearly 62,000 people are internally displaced and another 139,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

Despite the immense needs, UNICEF’s programmes in the country are hindered by constrained access and limited funding. The children’s agency has received less than a third of the $37 million it needs for its education, protection, health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

“The dream of building a better future for Mali’s children depends on action now,” Equiza said. “Better humanitarian access and more resources can’t come soon enough for those who have been deprived for so long. Education is their best hope for the future.”


Multimedia material is available at: http://uni.cf/1IH5NDX

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit: www.unicef.org

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For further information contact:
Tim Irwin, UNICEF Regional Office in Dakar, + 221 77 52 91 294, tjirwin@unicef.org
Cindy Cao, UNICEF Mali, +223 78 58 24 35, ccao@unicef.org,
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1917 209 1804, nmekki@unicef.org




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